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climate change

One-two punch of past warming may hold lessons

Geologists are fond of the saying, “The past is key to the future.” Unfortunately, the past has been a poor guide when it comes to understanding modern climate change. Now, however, a new study suggests that one episode — a spike in global temperatures that occurred about 55 million years ago — may be a better analog than previously thought, and could yield insights into the planet’s future.

 
09 Apr 2015

Coastal cities will see regular flooding

Rising sea levels will likely lead to regular flooding in most coastal cities in the future, according to a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The report, which used tide-gauge records to chart annual flood rates, showed that these rates have increased substantially in the past 50 years and projected that a majority of U.S. coastal areas will likely experience 30 or more days of flooding each year by 2050.

 
03 Apr 2015

Pentagon report calls for military to prepare for climate change

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is charged with ensuring national security against threats, both domestic and foreign. Now the Pentagon has released a report detailing its strategy against a developing foe: climate change. The 20-page “Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap” outlines actions the military can take to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, both at home and internationally.

 
08 Feb 2015

Down to Earth With: Ecologist Chris Field

Last summer, the American Geophysical Union honored Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, with its annual Roger Revelle Award, which recognizes “outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences, atmosphere-ocean coupling, atmosphere-land coupling, biogeochemical cycles, climate or related aspects of the Earth system.”

 
22 Dec 2014

Link between volcanoes and drought cools geoengineering prospects

The realization that large volcanic eruptions can trigger climatic cooling has inspired some to call for stratospheric geoengineering projects, which mimic volcanic eruptions, to combat the effects of global warming. But the approach is not without risks. And a new study looking at the effects of volcanic eruptions on monsoon cycles in China over the past 700 years elucidates one: Eruptions can also cause profound drought in some regions. The finding suggests that although artificially induced cooling may have benefits in some places, it could backfire in others.

14 Dec 2014

Pliocene tropical oceans were warmer after all

Scientists may have overturned the idea that Earth’s tropical oceans were the same temperature during the Early to Middle Pliocene — between about 5 million and 3 million years ago — as they are today, despite the world being a far warmer place then.

12 Dec 2014

Comment: IPCC faces challenges in communicating climate science

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released piecemeal over the last year, reports “unequivocal” warming of the climate system due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, further emphasizing the need for global mitigation and adaptation schemes. But not everyone is ready to curtail carbon emissions, and the increasing clamor from skeptics and deniers — along with potential overstatements and even understatements by scientists — creates a polarized political environment that complicates efforts to communicate science effectively.

05 Nov 2014

Seasonal ice-cover reduction throughout Arctic waters mapped

Nowhere is climatic warming more evident than in the Arctic. Arctic air has warmed almost twice as much compared to the global average in recent decades, and Arctic sea-ice extent has hit historic lows in the last decade.

25 Oct 2014

Past penguin populations not dependent on ice extent

Penguins’ lives revolve around ice, so it seems they might be particularly vulnerable to changing ice conditions and ice loss. But a new study charting the rise and fall of penguin populations over the last 30,000 years suggests that past populations have actually increased during times of climate warming and retreating ice.

21 Oct 2014

For cloud formation, a little aerosol goes a long way

Clouds play a starring role in creating and controlling climate, but cloud physics are notoriously difficult to model, leaving wide gaps in understanding how cloud conditions have changed since the pre-industrial era. A new study looking at pristine regions of the sky in the South Pacific is shining some much-needed light on how particulate air pollution interacts with water vapor to form clouds.

06 Oct 2014

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